Fatty Acid Salts Help Reduce Food-Borne Disease Risk

US - Following up previous research, natural microbicides, such as alkaline salts of fatty acids, may lead to the practical application as microbicidal surfactants in poultry processing plants, according to researchers at the Russell Research Center. They added that these salts have the added advantage that they are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and pose no risk to human health.
calendar icon 6 January 2010
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The effects of spray-washing carcasses with lauric acid (LA)-potassium hydroxide (KOH) on bacteria recovered from whole-carcass rinsates (WCR) were examined by Hinton and colleagues at the Russell Research Center in Athens, Georgia. Their paper is published in the current issue of International Journal of Poultry Science.

Hinton and colleagues inoculated carcass skin with antibiotic-resistant strains of Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimirium and Campylobacter coli, explained the researchers.

The first trial examined effects of washing carcasses with water, 0.25% LA-0.125% KOH, 0.50% LA-0.25% KOH, 1.00% LA-0.50% KOH, or 2.00% LA-1.00% KOH at 80 psi for 15 seconds.

The findings indicated that significantly fewer Total Plate Count (TPC) bacteria, E. coli and Salmonella Typhimurium were recovered from carcasses washed with 2.00% LA-1.00% KOH than from carcasses washed with water and that no C. coli were recovered from carcasses washed with 2.00% LA-1.00% KOH.

In another trial, they examined the effects of washing carcasses at 60, 100 or 150 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure with 2.00% LA-1.00% KOH for 15 seconds.

The researchers said their findings indicate that significantly fewer TPC bacteria were recovered from rinsates of carcasses washed with 100 psi than from those washed with 60 or 150 psi.

A third trial was conducted to examine effects of washing carcasses for 0, 5, 15 or 30 seconds with 2.00% LA-1.00% KOH at 100 psi.

The results indicated that significantly fewer bacteria were recovered from carcasses washed for five seconds than from unwashed carcasses. Furthermore, significantly fewer TPC bacteria and Salmonella Typhimirium were recovered from carcasses washed for 15 seconds than for five seconds, and no C. coli were recovered from carcasses washed for 15 or 30 seconds.

Overall, Hinton and co-authors conclude the findings indicate that spray washing carcasses with LA-KOH can affect the number of bacteria recovered from WCR. They suggest that their studies also provide data that may be useful in designing applications for using of microbicidal surfactants in processing operations.


Hinton A. Jr., J.A. Cason, R.J. Buhr and K. Liljebjelke. 2009. Bacteria recovered from whole-carcass rinsates of broiler carcasses washed in a spray cabinet with lauric acid-potassium hydroxide. International Journal of Poultry Science. 8(11): 1022-1027.

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